Rally Australia is missing from the 2008 World Rally
Championship calendar after CAMS, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, submitted a formal request to the FIA
to delay its return to the WRC schedule until 2009.
The event was last part of the calendar in 2006 but was due to return to the schedule next season in a new home, having moved from its traditional base around Perth to the east coast.
CAMS reached agreement in principle with i-METT Queensland Group Pty Ltd to promote and organise the event for five years last year, with a deal being confirmed in March this year.
Since then, CAMS has worked on the sporting aspects of the event while i-METT worked on both promoting the rally and developing the area around the proposed base in South East Queensland. However, the plans were dependent on various government approvals being granted – which hasn't yet occurred.
“Whilst the receipt of this request is extremely disappointing to CAMS,” a statement read, “having regard for the timing imperatives, CAMS believes that the request by i-METT to postpone the first Queensland event until 2009 is in the best interests of the FIA World Rally
Championship, Australia's standing in the eyes of the world's motor sport community and the long term future of rallying in Australia.”
The announcement that Rally Australia has requested to removed from the provisional 2008 schedule comes on the same day that the FIA
released an updated version of the calendar following a World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris.
Having been slated for a date in early September, the Australian event is indeed missing from the schedule with CAMS president Colin Osborne stating that his team would do everything it could to ensure a swift return to the schedule.
"CAMS will continue to work with all parties to retain Australia's place in the FIA World Rally
Championship calendar and to support the development of a world class motor sport precinct," he said.
Aside from the removal of Rally Australia, the other major talking point surrounds the inclusion of Rally Mexico on the schedule at the end of February, with the event having not been on the provisional calendar for 2008 initially released by the FIA.